Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some Rainy Downtown Shots


It was raining last night, with no wind... so I had to take advantage.  I got pretty wet, but kept my camera dry.  I was fairly happy with the shots, although some of them are a bit cluttered.  I guess that's the nature of shooting in the rain, I can't really take as much time (or posses as much dexterity) as I might like.


Despite the conditions, I managed to get a good sixty shots, and from those I had a dozen or so I liked.  Of course, half of those duplicated the other half, but it really helped being able to pick out the one that was straighter.  I had some real trouble keeping things level, as with the rain and umbrella and all, I didn't take as much time setting up the camera as usual.


One thing that always surprises me with my night shots is the extraneous clutter that I don't see when I am out shooting.  In the shot above, for example, all of those signs on the side of the street... I didn't even notice them when I was out.  Of course, with it being dark and all, I'm not sure I could have even seen them if I had known to look.  Looking through the viewfinder for these, all I really can see clearly is the lights.


I tried to play around a little with the zoom and whatever, it makes it pretty tough to get different angles when you can only stand so far out into the street.  Most of these were shot from in front of a parked car... which is why they all seem to have the edge of another car in the bottom right corner.


Finally, I headed to a parking garage I had visited a couple of months ago.  I remember saying that I would come back in the rain next time... and I did!  Good for me.

I hope you've enjoyed!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Jewelry Macros

Chain Short Braid Detail

I was asked to take pictures of some very nice jewelry recently, and of course I was happy to help out.  These were some great pieces to work with, and I learned a lot while I was doing the little shoot.

Ruby Detail 1

Bracelet Detail

Most of these images have had some modification... there were bits of hair, crumbs, and so forth that snuck into the photos and I had to black them out.  On one or two you can see a tiny hair on the jewelry, I couldn't do much about that.  I had to brighten a few of them too, I'm terrible at accommodating for indoor work.  

Emerald Detail

Chain Link Detail 2

I think I did a good job overall, I had the white balance right and good focus on almost all of them.  Doing all this macro work reminded me of why I love that lens, but also why I need to stay in practice with it.  It has it's quirks.

Diamond Detail

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Few Wet Industrial Shots

Over the weekend, we had plenty of rain here in Portland. On Saturday, the rain let up a bit, and I decided it would be a great day to head over to the industrial area and see if I could round up anything interesting. Plus, I wanted to try out the new tripod base that my parents had bought me for Christmas. Yes, I would once again have a tripod where one leg didn't tend to slowly collapse upon itself. That really helps.


I did manage to find a couple of good shots at the first place I stopped. However, the wind picked up soon after I arrived, and was blowing the misty rain about in gusts. Unfortunately, this doesn't work very well with the umbrella... it either blows the rain around it, or tries to blow the umbrella away.

I tried to wait it out, but the weather only got nastier the longer I waited. Which was too bad, because it really is nice when things are already wet down and I don't have to mess with the spray bottle. I guess there's always next weekend.


I also received a response from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines this morning. They won't compensate me for the image that they would like to use. However, they only wanty to use an image that I don't really care much about at all. So I've decided to let them use it. I am really surprised that they wanted it... although I guess it does have a good photojournalistic style to it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We'd Like To Use Your Images...

Portland Skyline at Dusk, Jan 29 09

I received an email today from iFly Magazine, the digital magazine of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.  They have asked if they could use some images for an upcoming article on Portland.  They didn't specify which.  I wrote them back and asked which images they were interested in, and whether they would be compensating me for the images.

I couldn't access their website from work, but when I got home I took a look, and it's one slick online magazine.  It's very fancy, but I think we're all on modern internet connections here so you should be able to check it out.

Hit the little "ENG" button near the top right to change it to English.  Anyway, it's pretty multi-media heavy.

I did a little searching about this magazine, and read a glowing review from some trade blog... apparently this magazine is very popular with KLM's customers and has helped them gain a lot of repeat business.

So now I have to wait for their response.  In my experience, they will respond and inform me that there will be no compensation.  Everyone who has ever asked to use one of my images has promised me nothing more than credit, and I tend to refuse.  While I have let a few meh-level images be used, I don't think I've ever given away the use of any shot I am particularly proud of.  I imagine KLM will be wanting one I am proud of.

I appreciate the value of my work, and the value of photography in general... I think a lot of people give their work away needlessly, and I don't want to be one of those people.  So I've refused in the past based on this principal.  And with this offer, I'm even more inclined to refuse, as they obviously have the budget to build a high level website and maintain it.  I'd like to think that whenever someone gives an image away, that means someone else doesn't sell an image.  Unfortunately, the reality is looking more like someone else will just give theirs away instead.

So there's where I have a sort of quandry.  Although it's a principled stance, does it really mean anything?  I'm not a professional, nor am I well-known.  So why not give it away?  Am I really making myself less valuable for doing so, when my financial value as a photographer is already well into negative territory?

We'll see what I decide when I hear back.  This should be an easy pass, but it is awfully high profile (relatively speaking) so it's kind of flattering, especially considering my lack of success...

Monday, January 11, 2010

My First 2010 Industrial Shoot


I realized the other day that I haven't done an industrial shoot in months.  I think the last one I did was in October, when the sunset was creeping around 6:30 or so and I stopped in North Portland after work.  Maybe there was a failed attempt after that, all I know for sure is that my macro lens hasn't been on my camera for months.  I decided yesterday was the day to correct that.


Scanning Google Maps, I found a new pocket of industrial area that I was eager to check out.  I drove out there and realized that everything in the area was fenced off or really remote.  For some reason, I'm not as bold when it comes to approaching remote places as I used to be.


Luckily, I had a backup plan.  I drove across the river and stopped in <s>beautiful</s> downtown Vancouver Washington.  I hadn't visited for a year or so, and thought that maybe I'd be able to find something interesting and new.  Unfortunately, I was mostly wrong.


I visited the train yard and walked around downtown, but didn't find a lot of things to catch my eye.  I was surprised at how little was going on at the train station... maybe it was the Sunday afternoon that kept it slow.


I came home after sunset, happy that I had gotten some exercise and out of the apartment.  I parked my car in the new garage (yes, I've changed again) and realized that I hadn't taken any picture of this new space.  So I shot a few until I heard the garage door opening and someone coming in.  Then I tried to scramble and pretend I was putting my camera away into the trunk of my car.  Just a casual guy leaving, not some weirdo taking pictures of the garage.  Heh.